Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard is the latest in a long line of frog-centric games and the second in the budding sub-genre of amphibian detective titles. A new case has found its way onto the desk of the titular detective — one that demands their very specific set of skills. What’s a frog detective to do but lend their innate talents to a poor town in need? Comedic timing, unparalleled conversational tactics, and a keen eye for baked goods — all the hallmarks of a first-rate sleuth.
A game for the soul
An hour of laughs with your froggy friend for the fair fare of five dollars is a steal when you consider the quality of that hour. Frog Detective 2 is neither complex nor challenging, but as they say, the whole is greater than the sum of its quirks. Where the game shines is in its dopey, surreal humor and charming visual aesthetic. The comedic sensibilities of Grace Bruxner and Thomas Bowker permeate every facet of Frog Detective 2. Composer Dan Golding, of Untitled Goose Game fame, also contributes an endearing, trope-y score to elevate the flavor profile.
Frog Detective 2 doesn’t demand that you play the original, The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game, but I do. The sequel is very friendly to newcomers, being its own self-contained story. But anyone looking to squeeze out every last drop of humor out of Frog Detective 2‘s many references should consider the original.
Name’s Detective, Frog Detective
The game is a mystery insofar as the story and presentation; a modest adventure is a more appropriate gameplay description. You spend the bulk of your time conversing with the locals, learning more about their oddball personalities and jotting down silly notes in your customizable notebook. Who ruined the wizard’s party? You work your way down the whodunnit daisy chain until you find the answer. It’s linear, it’s predictable, but its charm captivates you the whole way through.
Frog Detective 2 is a first-person experience — players use WASD to move and the mouse to look around and interact. You can also bring up a magnifying glass with right-click to get a closer, fish-eyed look at any suspicious actors. Of course, its true purpose is to stare at humorous faces and objects in (distorted) detail.
Small touches like this highlight the value of the Frog Detective series. The magnifying glass doesn’t necessarily aid in any mystery-solving, but it sees as much use as anything else courtesy of its sheer comedic value. Every facet of the experience was designed to invoke as much joy as humanly possible. And, well, it succeeds. There is nothing that isn’t worth your attention.
The guessing game
A new cast of characters, a new batch of quirks — every one of the townsfolk are lovable in their own way. The absurd banter between frog and friends breathes life into a seemingly unremarkable town. Each character has their own (questionable) motives, personalities, and means of manipulating you into performing a variety of tasks. The mystery of the invisible wizard’s party is the launchpad for a wealth of weird, but welcome, conversations.
The humor in the writing is ultimately what will determine if your fiver was well spent. The characters tried their damnedest to make me chuckle, and it worked. Will every joke land? Likely not, but especially not for audiences who aren’t quite in tune with the comedic style.
Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard is not the deep mystery experience that I’m sure at least one person out there thinks it is, and that’s more than okay. It’s a humorous, charming, and colorful ride that’s sure to make for a memorable hour.